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Bangladesh - 3 weeks ago

Lawmakers for enacting new law to protect domestic workers

Staff Correspondent: The representatives of the development agencies on Tuesday stressed the need for enacting new laws to ensure the protection and rights of children engaged in domestic work. Expressing agreement with them, the lawmakers said that the government is sincere in protecting children’s rights. They mentioned that different steps including the formulation of laws and policies have already been taken to this end. However, new laws will be enacted if necessary to protect the large number of child domestic workers from physical, mental, economic and sexual abuse, they added.

They said these in a dialogue titled ‘Necessity of a specific law for the rights and protection of children engaged in domestic work’ held at the Parliament Members’ Club of JatiyaSangsadBhaban on Tuesday. Deputy Speaker ShamsulHaq Tuku was present at the dialogue as the chief guest.

Presided over by Executive Director of Action for Social Development (ASD) MA Karim, the dialogue was addressed among others, by Member of Parliament  from Habiganj-1 constituency AmatulKibria Keya Chowdhury, Member of Parliament Md. Rashiduzzaman from Khulna-6 constituency, Member of Parliament for reserved women seat Laila ParveenSejuti, Ruma Chakraborty and Anima Mukti Gomez, Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University teacher Mir Mohammad Ali, ShaplaNir Country Director Tamko Uchiyama, UNICEF representative FatemaKhairunnahar, SCAN General Secretary MoniruzzamanMukul, and ASD’s Md. Hamidur Rahman.

Deputy Speaker ShamsulHaque Tuku said that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is working to ensure the protection of every child to make them citizens of modern Bangladesh. While there is a legal requirement for child protection, it is difficult to provide protection through law alone. In order to realise the fundamental rights of children engaged in domestic work, they should be treated as children of the householders, he observed.

The Deputy Speaker said, in smart Bangladesh, regulations should be made for the recruitment of domestic workers.

He further said, in Smart Bangladesh, secondary education should be compulsory for every child along with primary education. Through this, employment of child labour will be reduced to a large extent. However, he said, if there is any need for correction, he urged the law ministry and experts to prepare a full draft and present it to the government.

Ruling party lawmaker Rashiduzzaman said, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman took special initiatives to protect children. Following this, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has amended and revised child-friendly laws and policies. “An action plan has been adopted in this regard and the necessary budget has been allocated,” he said expressing his hope that the country will be freed from child labour as soon as announced by the Prime Minister.

Pediatrician Sharfuddin Khan presented the main article in the dialogue. He said that the government is expressing its commitment to protect the rights of all children in the country by signing international human rights and child rights instruments.

“In order to ensure the rights and protection of child domestic workers in the implementation of all those promises and declared commitments of the government, it is necessary to formulate an age-appropriate law and its successful implementation,” he added.

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